Evolution in interacting species alters predator life-history traits, behaviour and morphology in experimental microbial communities

Johannes Cairns, Felix Moerman, Emanuel Fronhofer, Florian Altermatt, Teppo Hiltunen

Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkelijulkaisuArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu


Predator-prey interactions heavily influence the dynamics of many ecosystems. An increasing body of evidence suggests that rapid evolution and coevolution can alter these interactions, with important ecological implications, by acting on traits determining fitness, including reproduction, anti-predatory defence and foraging efficiency. However, most studies to date have focused only on evolution in the prey species, and the predator traits in (co)evolving systems remain poorly understood. Here, we investigated changes in predator traits after approximately 600 generations in a predator-prey (ciliate-bacteria) evolutionary experiment. Predators independently evolved on seven different prey species, allowing generalization of the predator's evolutionary response. We used highly resolved automated image analysis to quantify changes in predator life history, morphology and behaviour. Consistent with previous studies, we found that prey evolution impaired growth of the predator, although the effect depended on the prey species. By contrast, predator evolution did not cause a clear increase in predator growth when feeding on ancestral prey. However, predator evolution affected morphology and behaviour, increasing size, speed and directionality of movement, which have all been linked to higher prey search efficiency. These results show that in (co)evolving systems, predator adaptation can occur in traits relevant to foraging efficiency without translating into an increased ability of the predator to grow on the ancestral prey type.

LehtiProceedings of the Royal Society B. Biological Sciences
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 10 kesäkuuta 2020
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä, vertaisarvioitu


  • 1181 Ekologia, evoluutiobiologia

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